Last weekend the longest-running fantasy football radio show on the planet (Fantasy Football Weekly, now in its 21st season on KFAN in Minneapolis-St. Paul and available on I Heart Radio and iTunes) held its annual Fantasy Football Training Camp. Outgrowing its previous venue, this year’s event was held on the Mystic Lake Casino main stage—home to upcoming concerts from Huey Lewis & The News and Kenny Rogers.
One of the highlights of the show—aside from an appearance by the 2014 Hooters Girl of the Year; if you follow me on Twitter @jtuvey you can see what my vantage point was for that particular moment—was an annual bit we like to call The Reach-A-Round. In this bit each co-host identifies a player whose ADP is a round later than when we’d actually take them.
In other words, we’d reach a round early for them. Why, what were you thinking we meant?
With the fantasy draft season rapidly descending upon us, there’s no better time to repurpose that bit for the edification of Huddle readers unable to attend the show. So here’s my very own, very personal version of the Reach-A-Round.
Note that ADP is taken from My Fantasy League draft data as of August 21 and is based on a 12-team league.
ROUND 1 (players with an ADP of 13-24)
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions (ADP 14)
Megatron as the sixth receiver off the board feels like a bargain, as he’s pushed down by the likes of Antonio, Dez, Demaryius, OBJ and Julio. If you’re picking at the end of the first round, anchoring your squad with a sure-thing stud like Johnson is a solid way to build a winner. Jeremy Hill (ADP 21) warrants consideration as well, though you’d be leap-frogging him ahead of other big-name backs like McCoy, Murray and Forte; you probably won’t have to do that.
ROUND 2 (players with an ADP of 25-36)
Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens (ADP 27)
The only changes in Forsett’s situation from last season, when he was fantasy RB8, are both positive: there’s still no real challenger for carries and Baltimore’s new offensive coordinator loves to throw to his backs. He’s especially worth reaching for in PPR leagues, but even without the bonus points he’s knocking on the door of being a fantasy RB1. Same with Lamar Miller (ADP 31), who falls in this same range.
ROUND 3 (players with an ADP of 37-48)
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers (ADP 45)
We reached for Allen last year—a round earlier, too—and wound up with a sophomore slump. Rather than fear being burned again, we’re back for the rebound season as Philip Rivers’ top target. If you can talk yourself into Joseph Randle (ADP 44) being the 16-game starter in Dallas, he’s the only other player in this area worth reaching for.
ROUND 4 (players with an ADP of 49-60)
Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins (ADP 59)
Hard to understand why Landry is so overlooked this preseason. He had 80 catches last year and is first in line to snap up the 10 touchdowns Mike Wallace vacated. If you’re buying Ryan Tannehill taking a big step forward, this is the guy he’ll be doing it with. I have the same vibe about Landry this year I had about Emmanuel Sanders heading into last season—a second-tier receiver just waiting to blow up. If you’re not sold on Landry, Martavis Bryant (ADP 57) falls into a similar category.
ROUND 5 (players with an ADP of 61-72)
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers (ADP 70)
Sadly, I’ve only had a handful of early drafts with which to steal Martin in this range; his showing on Monday night will remind people he’s only a couple years removed from being a top-five overall fantasy player, and that ADP will start creeping up. When it does, your fallback plan in this range can be DeSean Jackson (ADP 65).
ROUND 6 (players with an ADP of 73-84)
Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers (ADP 75)
At the risk of loading up on an offense helmed by a rookie, the Buccaneers have a bevy of undervalued parts fantasy owners can snag at reasonable prices. Jackson has four straight 1,000-yard seasons, including last year with Josh McFreakingCown; surely Jameis Winston can feed the beast as well.
ROUND 7 (players with an ADP of 85-96)
Steve Smith, WR, Ravens (ADP 96)
He’s old, he’s short, and he’s vastly underappreciated. Who else is going to catch balls in Baltimore (besides Justin Forsett, that is)? If you’re mining the depths for running backs Chris Ivory (ADP 94) is a solid option in this range as well.
ROUND 8 (players with an ADP of 97-108)
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (ADP 99)
You waited (and waited… and waited) on a quarterback, and here’s your reward: Rivers eight rounds deep. He’s the last of the safe bets, with potential top-five output you paid a pittance for. If you’re set at quarterback, the upside play here is Brett Perriman (ADP 109), who is the only legitimate answer to the question posed above (who else is going to catch balls in Baltimore?).
ROUND 9 (players with an ADP of 109-120)
Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals (ADP 110)
No one has been beating the Eifert drum louder this preseason than me. He has all the opportunity in the world to be Andy Dalton’s second option in Cincy, and if he can stay healthy he’s sitting on a top-five fantasy TE type of season. But if you still want to wait at the position…
ROUND 10 (players with an ADP of 121-132)
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings (ADP 128)
Everything we loved about Rudy’s opportunity in a Norv Turner offense heading into last year carries over to this season—except, we hope, the injuries. Eifert and Rudolph are the reasons I’m waiting on tight end in every draft this season. Those of you in PPR leagues could reach here for Danny Woodhead (ADP 127), who was fantasy RB24 the last time he was healthy.
ROUND 11 (players with an ADP of 133-144)
Eddie Royal, WR, Bears (ADP 139)
Royal’s ADP is on the rise with every day Kevin White remains sidelined, but you can still snag him as a value. It’s a different offense than last year, but Adam Gase threw the ball plenty in Denver and at minimum Royal offers a third option behind Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett—with plenty of upside for a double-digit rounder.
ROUND 12 (players with an ADP of 145 and beyond)
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals (ADP 149)
This is the round to grab your Johnsons—if not Arizona rookie David, who is a better fit for the Cardinals offense than injury-prone Andre Ellington or the washed up carcass of Chris Johnson, then new Chargers receiver Stevie (ADP 157), who at minimum picks up additional possession receiver looks for the first month with Antonio Gates sidelined. You can also dig deep for PPR help like Roy Helu (ADP 191), take a shot on Matt Jones (ADP 189) as support/replacement for Alfred Morris, or pick up a viable starting fantasy quarterback in Carson Palmer (ADP 165).